Perpetrators of the Nord Stream blasts must be held accountable
There is a tendency in the international community to turn a blind eye to American reckless adventurism, especially if it constitutes a brazen act of aggression against another state.
The crimes committed against humanity and the ensuing chaos of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, for example, have not resulted in any accountability despite evidence such as the Bush-Blair 2003 memo that includes discussions on provoking Saddam Hussein and floating the idea of painting a U-2 spy plane in United Nations colors to incite Iraq to shoot it down as a justification for the invasion.
In 2023, there are further question marks, revelations, and new insights on the potential causes of the unacceptable Nord Stream pipeline blasts which disrupted global gas supplies and contributed to an energy quagmire across Europe. These revelations are a justification for an international inquiry.
The reasons are obvious. Pulitzer Prize winner and renowned American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh’s disclosure should definitely sound alarm bells. His claims center on how US Navy divers, in close coordination with Norwegian specialists, laid down explosives under the Russian gas pipelines as part of the 51st Baltops military exercises that are directly sponsored by the Commander of the United States Naval Forces in Europe since 1971. Hersh’s assessment has been echoed by his American counterpart, John Dougan, whose arguments are based on an anonymous letter that he received from a participant in the 2022 exercise. It should also come as no surprise that China’s Foreign Ministry has called for an impartial international inquiry in light of Washington D.C.’s perceived change of tone from initially championing the cause of accountability for Nord Stream to a deafening silence.
Yet, despite China’s firm stance and the United Nations stating that the Nord Stream blast investigation requires a legislative mandate, responsibility and culpability have not been established, which is a worrying sign for the international community. This is despite the fact that the Nord Stream pipelines have been an indispensable energy lifeline for Europe and unfettered access to Russian oil contributes to global energy security. By ignoring the impartial investigation, the international community will also be sidestepping the environmental impact of the 2022 blasts, which, according to climate scientists, amounts to tons of methane emissions across European shores. The two blown pipelines carried 300,000 tons of methane, and environmental campaigners have warned that similar attacks increase risks associated with fossil fuel infrastructure. As a result, the costs of not holding an impartial investigation will be borne by humanity.
Fixing responsibility is also important given that academic perspectives point at potential American responsibility. Professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy, Alfred De Zayas, for example, pointed out how the United States relies on propaganda to achieve its long-term objectives, and the Nord Stream attacks are no different. One can expand on Professor Zaya’s analysis by stating that the American public is made to believe official lines from the White House and the US Congress in the absence of objectivity and reason. While protests against war are common throughout America’s history, there has been a notable absence of agitation against the Biden administration’s actions in the absence of dialogue with Russia. In the Nord Stream case, however, America’s own journalists are questioning the veracity of official claims and have conceded that the Biden administration cannot be absolved from responsibility.
Perspectives from economists also point to potential American responsibility. Renowned economist and professor of public policy at Columbia University who was the former special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General, Jeffrey Sachs, clearly stated that such operations, which cause disruption and sabotage, can only be carried out by the United States as Washington D.C. has both the motives and means to do so. Sachs listed eleven facts that are in line with Hersh’s account, which include America’s long-standing and vocal opposition to the gas pipelines, as well as the security establishment’s fear that Europe’s increasing dependency on Russian oil will result in opposition to countering Russia.
Perhaps the United States should take into account the underlying factors that contributed to the Ukraine crisis in the first place, which includes, inter alia, the joint decision by Washington D.C. and its European allies to not provide Russia with security guarantees on NATO’s eastward expansion. Supplying arms to the Kiev regime and playing a key role in destroying infrastructure is a grand example of Cold War powerplay, which bifurcates the world into two camps, and calls for carrying out aggression against another UN member are at the heart of the problem. If UN member states desist from carrying out an independent investigation, then it would be a victory for the US-led world order, which is characterized by discord, conflict, and chaos. It would also be an affront to the basic tenets of multilateralism.
Russia’s decision to submit a draft resolution to the UN requesting an investigation into the blast is a welcoming sign. However, it is only possible if all member states echo Moscow’s call. Backing from China must be complemented by other states that wish to see an end to hostilities and respect for state sovereignty. Crippling sanctions on another UN member state cannot be followed by acts of economic sabotage nor can the United States employ American exceptionalism to bypass accountability.
Hence, the perpetrators of the Nord Stream blasts need to be brought to justice for a safer and more secure world order.